An interesting situation had a 19 -year-old girl, who ghad received piano from her grandparents and decided to sale it on website auction. That fact had been noticed by police. The trade of animal products, such ivory, is under protection and in fact it is prohibited. Even if the girl had did not know of the orgin of the keys she threatened up to five years in prison. The lack of knowledge of the law is no an excuse. For trading animals products from the CITES list threatens punishment up to five years in prison. Ivory comes from animals of the species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Endangered (Washington Convention, CITES) and the European Union Law on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating the trade.
So we should be very careful. – Having such instruments home is not prohibited, but selling it, is already illegal – explains the customs officers. There are some exceptions to that rule. If the ivory comes before 1947 there are provisions to exempt from the ban of trade. In that situation you should request an opinion and permission from the Ministry of Environment. In The European Union, trade of ivory goods produced after 1947 is prohibited. It is good to get the opinion of an expert who will confirm the age of the origin of the instrument. However, it can cost much more than the value of the instrument. On the other hand, the vast majority of historical instruments have keys lining is ivory …
So what to do to not have problems with the law?
Certainly you can declare on the auction website that the overlay keys are made of ivory, not because it increases the value of the instrument but to protect yourself. Another interesting solution is to add sentence: “Parts of the piano to sell, with the exception of the keyboard. The keyboard attach to the purchaser free of charge”. Last resort is facing beheading white keys to EU directives.The easiest way/simplest solution is to replace the original plastic caps on the keys imitations during the renovation of the old instrument.